When you’re on track to get healthier, one of the best people you can have on your team is a mentor. Ordinarily, you might not naturally think of using a mentor when you think of trying to get healthy. But mentors aren’t just for growing your career or trying to learn about a new industry. It helps to re-consider what a mentor actually is.
What is a Mentor?
First of all, it’s important to understand that a mentor is not a professional title. That means that, technically, anyone can be a mentor. A college professor can be a mentor to a student. A soccer coach can be a mentor to one of the team players. And, a friend or family member can be a mentor to you on your journey to good health.
A mentor is a person who helps to teach, guide, and advise another person in a certain area. The mentor is the more experienced person and presumably has the advantage of experience, connections, and knowledge that can be leveraged to help another person attain success in that area. If you are seeking to become healthier, a health mentor can help you achieve that goal.
What Makes a Good Health Mentor?
The role of a health mentor is clear. The mentor needs to be dependable, stable, supportive and have a positive outlook. Obviously, you want a mentor who has demonstrated mastery over their own health issues. The health mentor should be in good fitness themselves, and be balanced about fitness goals. They must also be able to separate their personal fitness goals from yours. For instance, if your goal is to slim down and tone up, your health mentor shouldn’t try to keep encouraging you to bulk up muscle mass. If your goal is to eat more whole foods, your health mentor shouldn’t be trying to tell you that a protein bar is a great substitute for a well-rounded supper plate. In other words, your health mentor should support your goals, listen carefully to your needs and be able to advise you accordingly.
Benefits of Having a Great Health Mentor
There are tremendous benefits to having someone who has consistently attained their own health goals as your mentor in order to keep you on track.
Accountability is important in any endeavor, but especially so when you’re trying to get healthy. It’s so easy to make excuses, put off goals, and talk yourself out of doing whatever it takes to get healthy. Think about all the times you swore that tomorrow everything is going to change. You promised yourself that you won’t eat junk food, you’ll jog first thing every morning and you’ll give up cigarettes. And then by 3:00 that same day, it’s all gone out the window with the first temptation. You’re in your car, starving, and there’s a fast-food restaurant on the corner. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you had a health mentor, you’d have to report what you did. You’d know that you’d have to tell her how you ordered the biggie size and then snuck in just a few puffs right before you got back to the office. Just knowing that you have to say all that is a great incentive not to do those things in the first place. It changes everything when you’re not the only person disappointed in yourself. When you have a health mentor, you add accountability to the mix, and that single thing can give you the strength to have more willpower and determination to drive straight past those golden arches without even blinking.
A good health mentor has a body of knowledge that surpasses your own when it comes to health goals. They’ll know more about eating right and exercising correctly than you know. That’s not to say that you couldn’t learn those things yourself, but a health mentor saves you a tremendous amount of time. And let’s face it. When you want to get healthy, you probably wish you’d started a long time ago. So having the benefit of a health mentor’s expertise puts you light years ahead.
Furthermore, a health mentor will cut through all the myths and dangerous fad diets that can circumvent your health goals. They’ve seen it all and have already distilled down to the most accurate and healthy strategies that can get you fit. They can tell you what works and what doesn’t work, and they can help you stick to a solid plan that will get you to where you want to go.
Finally, because the health mentor has that expertise, you will know that you can trust their advice. They always have your back and they always have your best interests in mind. You never have to worry about competition or misleading information because your mentor is committed to helping you to become a better version of yourself.
There’s nothing better than working with someone who has more experience than you do. Your health mentor will be able to navigate through any set of problems that comes your way. Because of their prior experience, they’ll know what to do when you give in to temptation when you’re feeling dejected, or even when you’ve had some success and you’re pushing yourself so hard that you’re bound to lose stamina. Your healthy mentor has likely worked with others on their journey to health, so they know what to expect from their mentees as well as what to do along the way when you pass various milestones and setbacks. Here are some types of experiences your health mentor will be familiar with:
- What to do when you hit a weight plateau
- How to handle an injury that keeps you from exercising
- How to handle unsupportive friends and family members
- What to do about clothes not fitting
- What exercise gear to buy and what gear is a waste of money
- Where the best bicycle/jogging trails are in your city
- Which is the best meal delivery service to use
- And much more
When you’re trying to lose weight (or even gain weight), it can be a lonesome experience. You may feel ashamed to talk about your issues with others, so everything is swirling around inside your head. Your thoughts can become very negative as you judge your own behaviors or inability to take action. This is why having a health mentor is such a huge benefit as far as a partnership is concerned.
Your health mentor is your partner. They’ll be there for you like a close family member might be, but even better. They won’t judge you or condemn you for failing for one day. They’re your buddy, your partner on this long journey ahead of you. They are there to help you when you’re feeling down and cheer for you when things go right. Your health mentor is by your side, if not physically, then emotionally, every step of the way on your fitness journey. Imagine having a partner that you can turn to whenever you need, to ask for help or to confide in or just to talk about health concerns whenever you have the need; that’s what a health mentor provides for you.
If you’re wondering where on earth you can find a health mentor, start looking around. Your future health mentor may be someone you already know. It could be someone that you go to school with, someone you work with, or someone that you see at your gym. A health mentor can be anyone, as long as they have demonstrated their own consistent ability to meet their own health goals, and as long as they are willing to become your mentor.
Once you find a willing health mentor, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in partnership with them compared with what you were struggling with alone. It’s important to have a health mentor for so many reasons, but the main reason is that it will help you fulfill your own dreams for your life.